Byline: Aileen Mehle
The applause was deafening at the Metropolitan Opera’s premiere of its new production of Richard Strauss’s “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” with all those who consider themselves ultimate critics proclaiming that at long last the Met had come up with a wonderful performance of one of those notoriously difficult, surrealistic fairy tales, thanks to its wise choice of the acclaimed German director Herbert Wernicke. He also designed the sets, costumes and lighting, that’s all.
The German maestro Christian Thieleman conducted and the great soprano Deborah Voigt as the empress led the tremendous cast. Applauding with both hands was the entire complement of the center box with Cecile Zilkha, who brilliantly handles all the Met’s special events, right in the middle of it all. She was dressed in black, head to toe, an Ungaro lace blouse under a Bill Blass embroidered velvet jacket and a Valentino skirt, finished off with a double strand of gray pearls. It’s the only way, really.
Mrs. Lawrence Copley (Lee) Thaw, the New York hostess of note and one of the saviours of Venice as a board member of Venetian Heritage, gave a glamorous dinner party at her glamorous maisonette for Mr. Lawrence (Larry) Lovett, who is not only a saviour of Venice but, indeed, the very chairman of Venetian Heritage. Larry owns a beautiful palazzo in Venice and is immersed in all things Venetian. Of course, the dinner was black tie. We’re not messing around here.
Lee filled her apartment with all sorts of splendid friends from abroad plus various scintillating locals. The super tycoon Nemir Kirdar (Investcorp) and his exotic wife, Nada, flew over from their palatial place in London. Princess Esra Jah was there holding court on one of Lee’s velvet love seats and Kartica Sukarno was lighting up her own luxuriously cozy little corner. Oh, my.
You all remember Princess Esra Jah. Born a Turkish princess, she married the Nizam of Hyderabad, considered one of the richest men in the world. Well, money isn’t everything (sure) so when she decided to bail out it was none other than Nehru who helped her get a divorce. Even now, Esra Jah is so well thought of in Hyderabad that she is helping that vast state — it’s bigger than France — to create a new hotel, a new museum and otherwise develop tourism. She doesn’t just loll around looking pretty, you know.
You all remember Kartica Sukarno. The younger sister of the present president of Indonesia and the daughter of its late president, she is in New York because her Foundation for Children is working with UNICEF. She doesn’t just loll around looking pretty either.
Cecile and Ezra Zilkha, the New York financier, were there before flying off to their apartment in Paris for the holidays. Ezra’s brother, Selim, another tycoon, and Mary Hayley were in from Los Angeles. Then there were the Greek charmer Doda Voridis, who always spends this part of the year in New York, the Hon. Robin Chandler Duke (fresh from being our ambassador to Denmark, she never just lolls around looking pretty, no way), Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, Mary McFadden, Patricia Patterson, Muffie and Donald Miller (Muffie is the new president of Venetian Heritage), Victoria and Frank Wyman, Gale Hayman Haseltine and Anne Bass. Also such gentlemen about town as Pierre Durand (the new treasurer of Venetian Heritage), Richard Oldenburg, Alexis Gregory, David Beer, Johnny Galliher, Phillips Hathaway, Gil Shiva, Boaz Mazor and Kenneth Jay Lane. And naturally the star of the evening Larry Lovett, who confirmed for one and all that Venetian Heritage will hold a benefit with music in the late spring in memory of Khalil Rizk, who meant so much to the organization. Larry says it will be just as exciting — and glamorous — as this group of saviours can make it.
Obviously, Larry can take the hustle-bustle and the hurly-burly of the social swim and thrive. It’s all part of it, isn’t it, hon? He was the guest of honor the night before at a party at Swifty’s given by Patricia Patterson and Muffie Miller and they all came. Among the crowd were such as Daisy and Paul Soros, Nan Kempner, Peter Bacanovic, Francis Kellogg, Douglas Cramer, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia and last but never least Denise Hale, fresh in from San Francisco, where she holds social sway. Denise was wearing a little fur-trimmed gray suit by Ferre, which was just as smart as the little red sheared mink jacket by Ferre she wore to Mila Mulroney’s holiday lunch at Swifty’s. You will be thrilled to hear that she is off for the hols to Bangkok, Angkor Wat and what we call Myanmar and she calls “Boooooorma.” She may have left Yugoslavia a number of years ago, but she kept the accent.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Capshaw, Serena and Samantha Boardman and their mother, Pauline Pitt, know something about the “Allure of Women,” which happens to be the title of the new book launched in SoHo the other night at the French swimwear and lingerie boutique Eres. Heidi Albertsen, the Elite Model of the Year, showed off bikinis and sarongs just as popular with the young as with their “yummy mummies,” as they cutely call them in Saint-Tropez. The coffee-table book published by Assouline pictures such style legends as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburm, Katherine Hepburn, Babe Paley, Lauren Hutton, Jeanne Moreau, Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren, photographed by Helmut Newton, Sante D’Orazio, etc., plus tributes by the author Francois Baudot, who knew what he was about, bien sur.